Illinois still trying to remove itself from No Child Left Behind

Jul 25, 2012

The state's waiver application has been delayed. In the meantime, Illinois will soon apply for an exemption from the most controversial aspect of the law. 

Thirty-three states have been granted waivers from No Child Left Behind.
But Illinois is one of a handful of states that want their own accountability system.  State Board of Education spokeswoman Mary Fergus says the sticking point is a new teacher evaluation method.

The federal government wants Illinois to have it in place by the fall of 2014.  But state statute calls for full implementation two years later.

"Teachers and principals across the state are busy just getting training on how to do those evaluations and we know that that is a complex process and it will take some time" Fergus said.

Fergus says Illinois continues to negotiate with federal officials.  In the meantime, the state is applying for a new waiver.  This one will seek to be released from the most controversial aspect of No Child Left Behind: the part that requires students continually improve on standardized tests. Fergus says Illinois will seek to freeze its benchmarks to last year's levels.